Residents trapped on rooftops wait for rescue
MANILA, Philippines – Residents trapped on rooftops by rising flood waters waited for rescue Monday, October 19, as Typhoon Lando (Koppu) flogged the Philippines for a second day, after killing two people and leaving thousands temporarily homeless.
The slow-moving typhoon unleashed torrential rain over three major mountain ranges on Sunday, October 18, and the runoff has since swamped the vast rice-farming plains north of Manila, rescue officials said.
About 70 villages are under water in the spreading floods, with many resident calling for rescue from small numbers of military, local government and volunteer rescue units, said Nigel Lontoc, a regional rescue official.
"The floods are fast rising and some people are now on their rooftops," Lontoc told AFP.
"The water is now too deep even for big military trucks, so our people are trying to reach them using rubber boats," he said, adding there were only 10 teams at their disposal at the moment.
Lontoc said many thousands of people may be stranded in those villages, although it was too early to determine an exact number.
Among the flooded areas was Cabanatuan, about two hours-drive from Manila that is not normally hit by flooding, Lontoc said. (READ: 64 rescued in Cabanatuan)
Volunteers using boats and bangkas continued to rescue residents in 5 villages in Cabanatuan as of Monday 8 am as many families remained stranded in their homes. (Check Project Agos for rescue efforts and needs.)
Red Cross Bravo team has rescued 64 people in Barangay Sumakab since 3 am Monday. The team is now in Barangay Aduas Norte, also in Cabanatuan.
"Some residents pre-emptively evacuated, but others thought the water would not reach them so they got trapped," Lontoc said.
One of the flooded villages on the outskirts of Cabanatuan was Jaen, a rice farming community of about 67,000 people, where water was up to the roof level.
Call for volunteers
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) called on volunteer responders in Metro Manila and areas near Central Luzon to immediately proceed to Aurora, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, and Pampanga to assist in rescue operations.
Additional rubber boats and other rescue equipment are also needed in the affected provinces, the OCD said.
About 20,000 people had left their homes across the typhoon-hit areas and were seeking shelter in government schools and other makeshift evacuation centres, according to the government's disaster management agency.
Lando lashed the northern town of Santiago with gusts of 150 kilometers an hour at dawn, the state weather service said.
That was much weaker than the 210 kilometers an hour the typhoon carried when it slammed into Luzon's east coast before dawn on Sunday.
It was forecast to cut across the Cordillera mountain range before exiting the north of the main island of Luzon on Wednesday.
The government put the death toll at two and said more than 19,000 people remained at evacuation centers.
A 14-year-old was killed in a district of the capital after a large tree fell on his house at the height of the typhoon.
A 62-year-old woman died after a wall in her house collapsed due to heavy rains in Zambales province on Saturday night. – with reports from Agence France-Presse and Pia Ranada/Rappler.com